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Hearne ISD Under Review

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Political and procedural problems in the Hearne school district has attracted the attention of the state.

An independent review of the district's performance is set to begin next month.

But the outcome could be good news for taxpayers.

Hearne ISD's finances, leadership, and performance are about to face the scrutiny of the state.

The legislative budget board plans to hire a consultant to conduct interviews, surveys and even public meetings as soon as next month.

It's a review process that singles out specific districts that are struggling -- Hearne ISD is one of ten in the state.

The process has worked. It's saved taxpayers money and helped districts provide a better education for students.

Hearne's Superintendent David Deaver will not talk about the review or comment about how the district is preparing for it.

Even though the state's goal is to bring about positive change, Deaver felt it was in the district's best interest to remain tight lipped.

Just two years ago Calvert ISD underwent the same review, and they say overall it was helpful.

"Looking back at it we have improved," says Elementary School Principal LeeEtta Mable.

The district was selected for review because it was struggling with hiring qualified teachers.

Now it has a system in place that is working to improve that.

The state's recommendations will end up saving taxpayers over $800,000 by 2007.

Mable says although the process found flaws, it also exposed positive things the district was already doing.

"Not only do we have recommendations but commendations for some things. They will cite you for the good things as well as recommendations to improve," says Mable.

The review in Hearne will specifically look at the school board representation.

Currently, board members do not represent a certain area, they're elected at-large.

The state's concerned that school boards elected this way don't accurately reflect the views of the community as a whole.

The Legislative Budget Board will also review how money is spent to ensure every dollar is going straight to Hearne classrooms.